Sidney Rice: 'I'm going to play' Sunday
"I'm going to play," Rice said after what he considered a strong week of practice. "I don't think I can go the whole game but I'm going to play as much as I can."
Rice's coach, Brad Childress, wasn't quite as certain Friday.
Childress told reporters that Rice's soreness is "not as bad as last week" and that the decision on his status will be made after Saturday's practice. Childress also said that if Rice is not activated for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, he likely will be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Rice underwent hip surgery in late August, just a few days after quarterback Brett Favre rejoined the Vikings in preseason. He was put on the team's physically unable to perform list on Aug. 31 and activated on Nov. 3.
The Vikings have held a spot open on their active 53-man roster since dumping wide receiver Randy Moss, and since fully clearing Rice for action they've left the final decision up to him.
Favre and Rice were a potent combination last season. Rice had 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. He was injured in last season's NFC Championship Game against New Orleans and missed out on his first Pro Bowl appearance.
He saw three specialists in the offseason to examine his injured hip and declined to have surgery, hoping the condition would heal on its own. Rice never got to participate in a practice during training camp before having surgery.
Rice is in the last season of a four-year contract he received after being drafted in the second round by the Vikings in 2007. He balked recently at the suggestion he's taking his time with his recovery to avoid getting hurt in a contract year.
Also for the Vikings, wide receiver Percy Harvin had a full practice Friday and is probable despite an ankle injury.
"I think it's just going to be something that continues to twinge on him every now and then," Childress said.
However, wide receiver Bernard Berrian remained limited in practice by a groin injury and is listed as questionable.
Childress said he wasn't prepared "to crown him ready," preferring to wait and watch Berrian run a full-speed deep route before choosing to use him against the Packers. He was active for the Bears game but aggravated the injury and didn't play.
The Vikings also have problems on the offensive line. Guard Anthony Herrera (elbow) and center John Sullivan (calf) have been limited in practice all week and are questionable. Safety Eric Frampton is out with a hamstring injury.
Despite their dire 3-6 record, the Vikings appeared loose on the practice field and in the locker room this week -- giving off a nothing-to-lose vibe. Childress, who said again he has not spoken with owner Zygi Wilf about his job status, was relaxed and in a joking, story-telling mood Friday.
Defensive end Jared Allen turned to a TV camera as he discussed the crowd-noise advantage the Vikings have in the Metrodome, smiling as he spoke to the fans: "Please don't boo us. I know we haven't won but we've given you some good years the last couple years, too."
Allen maintained the all-is-not-lost approach.
"It's the same old story. We have the capability and talent to right the ship. We just have to do it," Allen said.
Information from ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, ESPN.com NFL senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press is included in this report.
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